Only two days ago, Underdog Dynasty was reporting that Arkansas State's depth at quarterback had suddenly become dangerously shallow thanks to the departures of James Tabary and Cameron Birse. It appeared that recent Oklahoma transfer Justice Hansen had secured the starting role, if not by talent then by default.
But on Saturday morning, it was revealed that Coach Blake Anderson & Co. weren't satisfied with standing pat.
Breaking news: former Pitt QB Chad Voytik switches from Eastern Kentucky to Arkansas State. Will 100% be playing in Jonesboro this season.— Saralyn Norkus (@SaralynV) May 7, 2016
Voytik, an ESPN and a Rivals 4-star recruit coming out of high school, actually had an offer from A-State (in addition to Clemson, Louisville and Penn St., among others) before joining the Pittsburg Panthers in 2012. He is a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility left.
The 6'1" 215lb signal caller became the Panther starter in 2014, when he led Pitt to a 7-6 recored and threw for 2,233 yards and 16 touchdowns (he also ran in three scores).
But in 2015, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi (Voytik's third HC in three years) benched the dual-threat Voytik in favor of Nate Peterman three games into the season. Pitt went 8-5 in 2015, flirting at times with the AP Top 25 (and drawing my terrible ire in the process.) Upon the end of 2016 Spring Camp, Voytik decided not to hang around any longer.
"I wanna play my last year, with the current situation at Pitt it would have been an uphill battle to get back the starting position," said Voytik in an interview with WRCB. "For one the offense didn't fit me. We got a new OC, a lot of pocket passing, not much boot-leg or roll outs. Which is what I like."
This comment reveals a big reason why Voytik might be interested in playing for the Red Wolves, a team notorious for fielding dual-threat quarterbacks. He likely saw a nice fit with A-State OC Buster Faulkner's fast paced offense.
Still, Voytik's addition to the Red Wolves roster raises questions, the first of which: Is Blake Anderson uncomfortable with sophomore Justice Hansen at the helm? Voytik has one year left, and he's not coming to Jonesboro to hold a clipboard. One wonders if this is shaping into a situation that occurred in 2013, when graduate transfer Adam Kennedy was brought in to give not-quite-ready-for-prime time Fredi Knighten another year to mature.
Voytik's arrival does answer one question: the Red Wolves are all in on 2016. With an All-Star roster at wide receiver, and with a defense even more talented than last year's monster version, the A-Staff staff clearly believes that this isn't the year for breaking in new signal callers. The time for the Red Wolves is now, and Coach Anderson is pressing the gas. The Red Wolves will enter Fall with two 4-star QBs, and the winner will be the guy who best puts the rock in the dangerous hands of Cameron Echols-Luper, Blake Mack and Kendall Sanders.